The Engagement and Economic Empowerment team is here to empower all residents with access to economic opportunities and meaningful civic participation. Our team will strive to improve the quality of life for residents in neighborhoods and help facilitate community partnerships.
The Love Your Block Program utilizes a high-impact volunteer strategy and mini-grants that connects community stakeholders and city agencies with local residents to help revitalize their neighborhoods and eliminate blight. The program captures the energy and commitment of residents to lead and make the initiative sustainable. In this process citizens are making their neighborhoods -and the city- a better place to live. Love your block 2020 now offers 1. Small home repairs 2.Mini-grants for small volunteer led projects 3. Tend The Bend Trailer/Clean-up Assistance.
City of South Bend – Love Your Block – Acts of Kindness Grant
Love Your Block is designed to engage local volunteers by providing mini-grants to perform intensive neighborhood improvement projects in the city’s most challenged neighborhoods. While we can no longer gather in the neighborly ways we are used to due to COVID-19, the Office of the Mayor and South Bend’s E3 team (Engagement and Economic Empowerment) invite neighbors and neighborhood groups to apply for an “Acts of Kindness” grant.
ENGAGEMENT & ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT
ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF TEND THE BEND TRAILER
ANNOUCES IT’S 2nd ROUND OF LOVE YOUR BLOCK GRANTS
This past Spring/Summer of 2020 the Engagement & Economic Empowerment team awarded 15 Acts of Kindness Grants and launched the Digital Neighborhood Grant to keep neighbors safely connected and engaged. In the spirit of continuing to build community safely during these times of social distancing, we are excited to launch the Tend the Bend Trailer as well as announce a second round of Acts of Kindness and Digital Neighborhood Grants.
“The summer grant awardees created youth engagement activities, a neighborhood-based small business scavenger hunt, delivered thousands of facemasks and hand sanitizer, and inspired their neighbors in invaluable ways,” says city official Alkeyna Aldridge, “I’m excited to see what additional impact neighborhood leaders can create this round with further resources and the Tend the Bend tool library.”
The Tend the Bend Trailer is outfitted with tools such as lawnmowers, rakes, weed whackers, and various other tools to support neighborhood beautification efforts and blight elimination and it will be available for online bookings with the following links below. Any resident-led organization such as churches, nonprofits and neighborhood organizations can book the trailer to support their blight elimination efforts.
For more information visit:
Acts Of Kindness Grant Application: Apply Here For Fall 2020 AoK Grant
Digital Inclusion application: Apply Here For Digital Inclusion
Booking Tend the Bend Trailer: Apply Here For The Tend to The Bend Trailer
Meet The Team
Assistant Executive Director (Director of Engagement & Economic Empowerment)
Alkeyna Aldridge is an experienced public servant with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education and government administration industries. She is especially skilled in community development and social services with a focus on participatory decision-making. When she’s not helping out her native and much loved South Bend, she’s doing improvements on her house, cooking, and generally being awesome.
Economic Empowerment Specialist
Ryan Ryker currently resides in South Bend Indiana, he moved to South Bend to attend Indiana University South Bend, later transferring to Ivy Tech Community College. Ryan was also involved in the cryptocurrency industry, starting 2 successful companies he later sold. Ryan has a wonderful girlfriend, and a cute dog named Brody. He is dedicated to improving the lives of residents in South Bend and plans on finishing college once his term of service is completed as an AmeriCorps. He is excited to be able to make an impact in the community and city he now calls home.
Alix Underwood is a new AmeriCorps Member with the Engagement & Economic Empowerment Team. She recently returned from two years with the Peace Corps in Panama, where she worked with the Sustainable Agriculture Systems sector on community development projects like a women’s artisan group, tilapia fish ponds, and education initiatives. Alix looks forward to bringing the community engagement skills she learned in Panama to a local context. She is a Hoosier, born and raised in Muncie, and is quickly learning the ins and outs of South Bend. Alix is already impressed by the resilience and innovation of the city’s residents.
Courtney Crew is currently a new AmeriCorps E3 Team Member who is also currently working on her RN License through Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana. She already is a Medical Assistant/CNA. She found it to be a great way to get her foot in the door in the medical field. One of the main reasons she became interested in AmeriCorps and working with the City of South Bend was the many different developmental and educational opportunities that are offered. The skills and new knowledge she is learning are very relevant to her future in the healthcare industry as well as applying them to aspects of her own personal life as well.
David Cholak is a new AmeriCorps member with the Engagement and Economic Empowerment team. He grew up in and around South Bend and served in Peace Corps the Gambia for 27 months. He hopes to use the skills he learned there to help improve the South Bend community.